The Canadian Red Ensign

The Canadian Red Ensign

Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Pollution of the Mainstream or Turn off the Bloody Television and Read a Book!

I am not a regular television watcher and have not been one for about fifteen years now. Towards the end of my college years I realized that I had already wasted far too much of my life sitting in front of a box that projects mind numbing drivel onto a screen. So when I moved to the city and got a job and my own place I made a conscious decision to make better use of my spare time. Having been a book-lover all my life, cutting television out meant that I had more time to devote to reading and so I have never regretted this decision. Today I only watch television when I am out at my dad’s place or visiting friends.

Consequentially, I had never heard of the Duggars until their recent scandal became a news item. I now know, thanks to the scandal, that they are a family from Arkansas whose television show, “19 Kids and Counting”, had apparently become the most watched program on what used to be called The Learning Channel. It is not a television show I would ever have watched belonging to a genre of programming that I particularly despise, that in which it is assumed that the absence of scripting and directing means that what is being recorded and broadcast is therefore “reality”.

The scandal concerns the eldest of the family’s nineteen kids, Joshua. A couple of weeks ago one of those celebrity gossip rags that offend the eye at checkout stations across North America dug up a ten year old police report about how he had groped several girls when he was 14-15 years old. This had been reported to his father, who disciplined him privately, put him through some kind of a counselling program, and made him confess it to an Arkansas state trooper who in a bizarre twist is now serving time for a sex crime himself.

The media have been using these revelations to crucify the Duggar family who are fundamentalist Baptists and believe in all sorts of things such as Christianity and patriarchy which the bien pensants of the media in their politically correct chronological snobbery consider to be appallingly backwards. Thus they are downplaying the fact that Josh Duggar was himself a kid at the time the groping took place. Omar Khadr was about the same age when the Americans captured him in Afghanistan and tried and convicted him for war crimes and the media has not stopped yapping about how he was “just a kid” ever since. Khadr’s were the greater crimes, but the same people that excuse his terrorism on the grounds of his youth, are howling for Duggar’s blood in spite of his. Unfortunately for Mr. Duggar he is of the wrong race and religion to attract media sympathy despite being himself a media personality.

This weekend an article appeared in the D section of the extra thick Saturday edition of the Winnipeg Free Press entitled “Stop whitewashing religious extremism for ratings”. One might be forgiven for thinking, based on the title alone, that the column, penned by sportswriter Melissa Martin, was calling for an end to the media lovefest for Omar Khadr. Alas that was not the case. For while the Khadr family, who as members of al-Qaeda consider themselves to be mujahideen, holy warriors of Islam, waging jihad against us Western infidels in the name of Allah, are certainly religious extremists in the sense of those who resort to the rather extreme means of lethal violence to accomplish the ends of their religion, it is the faith of the Duggar family that Martin is talking about. Since the Duggars, whatever their faults and failings, whatever their sins of omission and commission, may or may not be, have as yet, to blow up buildings, kill people, and commit war crimes on behalf of the Christian God, they are clearly not extremists in this sense of the term.

By calling the Duggars’ religious beliefs “extremism” Martin is saying that they fall outside what is considered at the moment to be the mainstream. This is an accurate enough assessment. The problem is that the contemporary mainstream has become so polluted and toxic that it is not a place that any sane person would desire to be.

Martin’s article is evidence enough of that. It is a feminist diatribe that begins with a progressive cliché that would have been almost clever had it not been done a gazillion times already in the past, the bait-and-switch in which she asks her readers to think of a hypothetical faith with a very negative attitude towards women which she describes in terms that seem intended to conjure up images of the Khadrs’ religion before revealing that it is the faith of the Duggars of which she is speaking. Her complaints against the Duggars’ faith are that it stops women “from seeking true education”, that it sees “all of women's hardest-won rights” as “pathways to sin” and their bodies “as vessels from which to beget a new army for their faith”, and that it has attacked “not just abortion rights, but also protections and rights for LGBTQ people, and sometimes take aim at equal-pay laws and no-fault divorce” and has sought “limits on access to contraception”.

Pardon me while I stifle a yawn.

“Abortion rights”, while accepted as mainstream today, are a concept that is indefensible in itself. The expression refers to a woman’s supposed right to have an abortion, which feminism predicates upon the argument that a woman’s body belongs to her, that she alone has the right to decide what happens with and in it, therefore since pregnancy occurs within a woman’s body, she has the right to terminate it if she wishes. While there is a semblance of logic to this argument it vanishes completely when you realize that the right to have an abortion which feminism claims for women, would bestow upon each woman the power to decide for reasons personal to herself whether another human life lives or dies and upon women collectively the power of life and death over the entire next generation and unilateral control over human reproduction. Seen in that light, abortion rights are utter madness. That our society has given women these “rights”, in recent decades, and that the mainstream of our society accepts that women ought to have them, proves nothing except that our disregard for the value of human life is such that we now owe Adolf Hitler an apology for the way we have been judging him for the last seventy years.

I could make similar arguments against no-fault divorce and everything else on the list individually, but it would be simpler to address the glaringly obvious theme running through virtually all of them. From “access to contraception” to “abortion rights” what stands out about the modern, mainstream, things Martin finds it so incredible that anyone would oppose is that in one way or another, they tend to separate sex from reproduction, and womanhood from motherhood. Feminist ideology declares its goal to be the liberation of women and their elevation to full humanity which feminism accuses Christianity and pre-feminist Western tradition in general of having denied them by the reduction of women to being merely wives and mothers. The idea is that for a woman to be human in the fullest sense, she must first be an individual who shapes her own role and destiny according to her own will. Feminism, therefore, looks with suspicion upon motherhood and those who enthusiastically embrace it by, for example, having 19 children, while itself embracing everything that separates sex from reproduction, such as contraception, abortion, and homosexuality.

To separate sex from reproduction, however, is to separate it from life, to render it sterile. It is hardly appropriate to regard this as being a liberation. Rather than elevate human eros to something higher than the biological function we share with the animals, as everyone from Plato to the doctors and theologians of the medieval Church sought to do, it reduces it to something less than that biological function.

What if, similarly, feminism got it wrong and the path to full humanity is not a generic, plastic, individuality but manhood for a man and womanhood for a woman? What if it was not Christianity, tradition, and “the patriarchy” which reduced women to something less than fully human by seeing them as wives and mothers – just as men were seen as husbands and fathers – but feminism which has reduced womanhood to something less than fully human by separating motherhood from it? While feminists love to accuse their opponents of being narrow-minded and bigoted feminism itself is such a narrow ideology that those within it find it difficult to formulate such outside-the-box questions for themselves. When a feminist does ask herself such questions and honestly strives for the answers she will usually find herself outside feminism, like the late Dr. Elizabeth Fox-Genovese.

Unfortunately, susceptibility to narrow ideologies like feminism is the norm rather than the exception.

It is ironic, therefore, that the first accusation Martin makes against the Duggars’ Christian faith is that it stops women from seeking “true education”. For the very fact that Martin is undoubtedly correct in identifying her own views as those accepted as mainstream today is an indicator that true education has simply not been available to most people of either sex for decades. True education begins by training people to think - to learn and understand what others have said, thought and written, to reflect critically upon it, and then to express intelligently their own thoughts - and it develops and expands through contemplative exposure to “the best that has been said and thought in the world” from the earliest ages down to the present.

A mind that has truly been educated is unlikely to fall prey to indoctrination by the kind of narrow ideology that expresses itself in such shibboleths as “women's hardest-won rights” and “long dominated by a white Christian majority” or to the chronological snobbery that assumes that the ideas that are generally accepted by the public today are therefore superior and enlightened, even if they would have been regarded as sheer lunacy in all times and places previous to our own day, and regardless of whether or not they can withstand scrutiny. We could do with more true education today, but it can no longer be found in the public schools or the universities, or anything else belonging to the now hopelessly polluted mainstream. Men and women seeking that education today, will have to look for it outside the mainstream, in the territory that the Melissa Martins of this world call extreme.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Civil Libertarians of Canada, The Charter is Not Your Friend!

For several months now civil libertarians in Canada have been – rightly – concerned about Bill C-51, the anti-terrorism legislation introduced after the shootings in Ottawa last October, which passed its final reading in the House of Commons earlier this month and is now before the Senate. The primary concerns are that the bill defines terrorism so loosely that it could be used against legitimate dissenters and that the information collecting powers it gives to CSIS threatens the privacy of Canadians.

This is not the first time the threat of terrorism has been used as an excuse to pass legislation unnecessarily expanding the powers of government. Jean Chretien’s Liberals passed anti-terrorism legislation in the fall of 2001, similar to the USA PATRIOT Act and, like the American bill, a response to the September 11th terrorist attack against the United States. Predictably, the legislation was abused. Rather than being used to stop jihadists bent on murder, mayhem, and torture from harming Canadians it was used by our authorities to throw an elderly man, Ernst Zündel, who lived in Canada for decades without ever being a threat to anyone (although he himself had his home bombed by terrorists) into a 6 x 10 cell in which the lights were constantly on, where he was kept while an obviously biased judge was presented with “evidence” to which he and his lawyer were denied access maintaining that he was a threat to national security, which resulted in him being deported to a country where he faced, as our government was well aware, arrest, conviction, and a stiff prison sentence merely for uttering his controversial views. This, of course, violated all sorts of rights, liberties, and constitutional protections that have long been traditional in Canada and all other countries under the Crown.

The Chretien anti-terrorism legislation was actually a greater violation of our traditional rights and freedoms than Bill C-51 is. I say this, not to dismiss or play down concerns over Bill C-51 or to make excuses for the present government, but to make an important point about a flaw in the way opponents of Bill C-51 have been framing their arguments. The bill, we are told by serious civil libertarians, from whose number we will exclude the tinfoil hat crazies who see the bill as a plot against Indians, environmentalists, and non-jihadist Muslims, endangers the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Charter. Thus the whole issue is framed as a conflict between two documents, a good document, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which guarantees and protects our liberties, and a bad documents, Bill C-51 which threatens them. The problem with that structure is that while Bill C-51 is certainly a threat, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is no solid ground for its opponents to stand on. The Chretien anti-terrorism legislation did violence to the traditional rights and freedoms of Canadians without violating the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

That so many Canadians think that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which was passed as part of the Constitution Act of 1982 that repatriated the British North America Act, either gave us or secured to us our basic rights and freedoms, indicates just how badly our educational system has failed us. The Charter’s second section identifies as “fundamental freedoms” belonging to “everyone” the following:

(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association.

Canadians did not have to wait for the Trudeau Liberals to introduce the Charter in 1982 to possess these freedoms. Freedom of religion, not in the modern liberal sense of “the separation of church of state”, but in the sense of Roman Catholics being allowed to practice Roman Catholicism, Protestants being allowed to practice Protestantism, and so on, without persecution and interference, has long been part of the tradition upon which our country is built. Nor did the Charter make these freedoms any more secure.

Consider the “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication”. It was two years after the Charter was introduced that Ernst Zündel was first put on trial for publishing a pamphlet maintaining that significantly less than six million Jews died at the hands of the Nazis and that the Third Reich had no designs to physically exterminate European Jewry. He was put through two public trials over this, then was investigated by the Canadian Human Rights Commission for expressing the same views on the internet (an “other medium of communication”).

The agency that conducted this latter, much more secretive and less public, investigation was created in 1977 by the same government that gave us the Charter. The Act which created the CHRC is itself a major violation of the fourth of these fundamental freedoms, which bestows upon certain people because of their “race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability and conviction for an offence for which a pardon has been granted or in respect of which a record suspension has been ordered”, a right to not be discriminated against by others, which is a phony right because it places burdens upon other people other than a) those which arise naturally out of their relationships with the rights-bearers, b) those they have voluntarily contracted to or c) the basic duty to leave the rights-bearer to be in peace.

The fourth time our government went after Zündel, during the premiership of Chretien, it was more than just the freedom of “thought, belief, opinion, and expression” that was violated. The seventh section of the Charter says “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.” Is it in accordance with “the principles of fundamental justice” to throw somebody in a tiny cell with the lights on around the clock and refuse to allow his advocate to hear and respond to all of the claims against him? Not according to our traditional standards of justice and not according to the ninth through twelfth sections of the Charter either.

Nevertheless, the anti-terrorism legislation which allowed for this treatment of Zündel was not in violation of the Charter. This is because the first part of the thirty-third section of the Charter reads:

Parliament or the legislature of a province may expressly declare in an Act of Parliament or of the legislature, as the case may be, that the Act or a provision thereof shall operate notwithstanding a provision included in section 2 or sections 7 to 15 of this Charter.

The second section is the section about fundamental freedoms quoted in full above. Sections seven through fourteen are the sections about our legal rights. All of these freedoms and rights were part of our tradition before the Charter was passed. Rather than making them more secure, the Charter clearly makes them less secure by allowing Parliament and the provincial legislatures to disregard them entirely. There are limitations on the use of the notwithstanding clause – part three places a five year limitation on bills that make use of it, but the limitations are fangless as the next part allows for the legislation to be re-enacted.

So no, civil libertarians of Canada, the Charter is not on our side. All the present government would need to do to make Bill C-51 comply with the Charter is to insert a five-year sunset clause and invoke the notwithstanding clause. This is how the Chretien Liberals got away with passing the laws that allowed them to commit that grotesque injustice against Ernst Zündel.

The fundamental freedoms listed in the second section of the Charter and the legal rights listed in sections seven through fourteen already belonged to every Canadian long before the Charter was introduced. In 1776, British North America divided between those who declared their independence, established a federal republic, and put their faith in the ability of a parchment document to forever safeguard their rights and freedoms, and those who refused to break with Britain, remained loyal to the Crown, and built Canada within the older tradition the organic continuity with which had never been broken. This older tradition had evolved over more than a thousand years of history to include the rights, freedoms, and legal protections we regard as basic today, and while the Loyalists rightly rejected the American Revolutionaries’ claim that Parliament was violating these “Rights of Englishmen” by passing a small sales tax, they did not dispute that these rights belonged to the tradition. Canadians looked to this tradition and our organic connection to it as the source and safeguard of our rights and freedoms and the tradition never let us down. It was only when the Liberals turned their backs on the tradition and decided that we needed a written guarantee of our rights like the American Bill of Rights that these rights and freedoms were placed in serious jeopardy. The Liberals have never understood or appreciated how our rights and liberties are tied to our British institutions and tradition so that the former stand or fall with the latter.

The Old Conservatives did understand this and they defended our British traditions as the foundation of our rights and freedoms. This, unfortunately, is not the case with the Conservatives of the present day who, to a large degree, share the Liberal Party’s tendency to look away from our British heritage towards the United States. Bill C-51 is an attempt on the part of the present Conservative – supported by the Liberals – to follow the example set by the United States in the passing of the USA PATRIOT Act and the Department of Homeland Security. The example of a government whose first response to a terrorist attack is to vastly expand its own powers and to try to remove constitutional and legal roadblocks to the abuse of those powers while all the while doing a cheerleading dance for “freedom” and running it up the flag pole is a terrible example to follow.

Civil libertarians, however, will need solid ground to stand on in opposition to this bill rather than the sinking sand that is the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The only such ground is Canada’s British institutions and traditions. Alas, most of the opposition to the bill in Parliament is coming from the party which is not only the party of the tinfoil hat wingnuts who think that the true purpose of the bill is to allow the government to throw tree hugging hippies into jail but also the party most hostile to our British heritage. The outlook is not good for our traditional rights and freedoms.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Alberta's Left Turn

I had not been following the recent provincial election campaign in Alberta. I found it interesting, therefore, when Kevin Michael Grace over at The Ambler predicted an NDP win shortly before the election, but I was not really surprised when this prediction came true. Mr. Grace has frequently demonstrated his acute insight into the myriad of aspects of Canadian politics and the NDP and Alberta are not as odd of a match as many people seem to think. Capitalism and socialism have never really been polar opposites, they are more the opposite sides of a single coin, perhaps the plugged nickel. Both think that the acquisition of money is the purpose for human existence, with the difference between the two being that capitalists think that money should be obtained through the free exchange of goods, services, and labour whereas socialists think it is better for the government to take money from those who already have it and give it to other people. I don’t wish to trivialize this difference – the former, being relatively the more honest of the two, is clearly to be preferred by sane, decent, and normal people over the latter, the preference of crooks, scoundrels, and fools – but the difference pales in comparison to that between the shared assumptions of capitalism and socialism and the truth that there are many things more important in life than making money.

For as long as I can remember I have heard Alberta described as Canada’s “most conservative province” but I have long questioned the accuracy of this designation. It might have been true at one time. In the fall of 1936, Stephen Leacock, the famous Canadian professor, economist, social commentator, and humorist began a lecture tour of the Western provinces and he described his experiences in My Discovery of the West: A Discussion of East and West In Canada, which was published by Thomas Allen in Toronto in 1937. In his ninth chapter, “Monarchy in the West”, Leacock wrote that:

People who know nothing about it always imagine that the West of Canada is far less British than the East. Apart from the Maritime Provinces this is not so. It is even the reverse of truth.

From this he went on to argue that the large number of Americans who had moved up to the Canadian West between 1905 and 1914 made “no great difference as to the British connection and British institutions” because Americans had been British originally, and were reverting to their roots. He put it in these memorable words:

It used to be said that the last shot fired in defence of British institutions in America would be fired by a French-Canadian. It looks now as if there would be one more shot after his. It will be from the gun of an American whose name will be something like John Bull McGregor. His people will have been among the McGregors of Mississippi and the Bulls of the New York police: so he won't miss what he shoots at.

If Leacock’s assessment of 1936 Alberta was accurate, that those settling the province valued Canada’s British institutions, had not a trace of republicanism, and that the former Americans among them would be the ones to fire that last shot on behalf of the Crown, then it might have been true to say, at that time, that Alberta was the most conservative province in the Dominion. That was then. This is now.

In Canada, a conservative is someone who believes in and supports the traditional British institutions of this country. This was historically true even of conservative French Canadians – and until the 1960s French Canadians were very conservative indeed – for while their primary concern might have been the preservation of their language, Roman Catholicism, and their traditional way of life, they understood that these things had been guaranteed by the Crown since 1774 and that had all of British North America gone over to the American Republic in the Revolution their language, religion, and culture would not have survived. The two best articulations of the political meaning of conservatism in the Canadian context, John Farthing’s Freedom Wears a Crown and John G. Diefenbaker’s These Things We Treasure, the first by a central Canadian who grew up in Ontario and Quebec, the second by a Westerner, who grew up and practiced law in Saskatchewan before entering federal politics, both argued that Canada’s British institutions were the foundation and framework of our traditional rights and freedoms and that the latter stand and fall with the former.

If Alberta were the most conservative province in Canada that would mean that the ideas in the preceding paragraph would be more prevalent in Alberta than anywhere else in the country. Is this the case? Hardly. Indeed, one of the most curious things about many who identify as conservative in the province of Alberta is an inability to put two and two together and come up with four on this matter.

From 1963, when Lester Pearson became Prime Minister until 1984 when Pierre Trudeau stepped down as Prime Minister, the Liberal Party of Canada waged an aggressive war against Canada’s British institutions and traditions. They removed the designation “Royal” from many institutions including the post office and the navy. They insisted that we needed a new flag of our own, even though the Canadian Red Ensign had been declared our country’s flag by Order-In-Council in 1945, three days after the end of the war in which it had been baptized our national flag in the blood of the soldiers who fought under it in our country’s finest hour. It was the Union Jack in the canton that made the old flag objectionable to them. These are just two examples, many more could be provided. At the same time the Liberal Party was attacking Canada’s British heritage and institutions it was also attacking and undermining the basic traditional freedoms of Canadians. In the early 1970s they added a law against “hate propaganda” to the Criminal Code, which set a bad precedent for freedom of speech by making certain types of speech illegal on the basis of the thoughts expressed within them. Existing laws governing speech, such as the law against incitement, only made speech illegal when it called upon people to commit violence and break the law. Then the Liberals passed the Canadian Human Rights Act, an attack on freedom of association patterned on the American Civil Rights Act of the previous decade, which further attacked freedom of speech with its chilling Section 13, designating hate speech as an illegal act of discrimination and defining it so broadly that virtually anything offensive to those protected against discrimination would qualify. Finally, when they repatriated the British North America Act, they tacked onto it a Charter of Rights and Freedoms that under the guise of securing for us the rights and freedoms we already possessed by prescription as subjects of the Crown, nullified those rights and freedoms. (1) These attacks upon traditional and basic prescriptive rights and liberties, producing the oppressive politically correct atmosphere that Albertan “conservatives” rightly object to, were carried out at the same time and by the same people who were ripping apart our British heritage, proving the analysis of traditional Canadian Tories like Farthing and Diefenbaker, that our freedoms stand and fall with our British traditions, institutions, and heritage, to be correct.

Yet many Albertan “small c conservatives” don’t seem to get this. To the last man they have an intense loathing for Pierre Trudeau and the Liberal Party, yet many of them show little interest in turning to Canada’s British institutions, traditions, and heritage. Indeed, I have known more than a few of them to approach our British heritage with an attitude of contempt scarcely distinguishable from Trudeau’s own. Royalism is the sine qua non of conservatism in Canada, a non-negotiable, and Pierre Trudeau was notorious for, among other things, his disrespect for Her Majesty, yet you will encounter in Alberta, far more than anywhere else in Canada, people who claim to be Trudeau-hating conservatives but who are republicans rather than royalists. Self-identified Albertan “conservatives” tend to be continentalists – sometimes to the point of being annexationists – and free traders, both of which, ironically, are positions that historically belonged to the Liberal Party. It is further ironic that free trade was only embraced by the Conservative Party in the 1980s under the leadership of Brian Mulroney, the Conservative leader most hated in Alberta, whose misgovernment drove traditional Conservative Party voters, not only in Alberta but throughout the West, into the Reform Party of Canada.

This does not sound like a conservative province – more like a belligerently regionalist province with a chip on its shoulder. Localism is an important element of conservative thought, but in a form similar to the Catholic doctrine of subsidiarity, never anti-patriotism.

Where then does Alberta’s “conservative” reputation come from?

Is it the most socially conservative province?

When one thinks of social conservatism – in the sense of opposition to the moral and social disintegration that has taken place in the United States, Canada and the rest of the Western world since World War as manifest in such things as the collapse of social authority, no-fault divorce, birth control, abortion, the sexual revolution, cohabitation without marriage, serial marriages, alternative sexualities, and the like – three voices come to mind as having spoken louder on behalf of social conservatism in Canada than any other – George Grant, William Gairdner, and Ted Byfield. All three were from central Canada.

Yes, that’s right, all three. Ted Byfield, the founder of the Alberta Report which joined Christian social conservatism with a defiant Western and particularly Alberta populism, was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. That, in itself, does not perhaps say much, especially since moral and social decay, and worse, government brainwashing of the young against traditional norms, has gone further in Ontario, under the premierships of McGuinity and Wynne than anywhere else in the country. Nevertheless, it is in Alberta that the Rev. Stephen Boissoin was dragged before the Human Rights Tribunal – they have one of these odious kangaroo courts in Alberta too – for writing a letter to the editor, criticizing the actions of the politicized homosexual movement.

More substantially, Albertans more than any other Canadians, love American popular culture and oppose any attempt on the part of the national government to protect domestic Canadian culture. While our cultural protectionist policies have been a complete failure, and indeed have done harm rather than good, my point is that there is nothing that has done more to erode traditional social institutions, the authority of parents, teachers, and churches, and moral standards, than Hollywood films, pop and rock music, and television programming. A social conservatism that is wed to an objection, at the theoretical level, to cultural protectionism on the liberal grounds of market freedom, is a social conservatism that has laid down, raised the white flag, and given up.

The other grounds on which some have claimed that Alberta is the most conservative province are those of fiscal and economic conservatism. Fiscal conservatism is the idea that the state should live within its means and not export its costs into the future for posterity to pay. The economic ideas regarded as being conservative in Alberta are actually economic liberalism – free markets, free trade, and low taxes to encourage an entrepreneurial spirit, promoting economic growth that creates jobs and generates wealth. These two ideas are not always compatible. The goal of economic liberalism is constant growth so it always calls for lower taxes, whereas fiscal conservatism recognizes that to meet its goal, of not creating burdens for future generations, taxes may sometimes need to be raised in the present. It has been my impression that for most Albertan conservatives when these two ideas and goals clash, it is economic liberalism that wins out over fiscal conservatism. At any rate, actual economic conservatism is a variation of economic liberalism called economic nationalism, in which the government passes laws and taxes that favour and protect domestic production, thus exporting its costs not to future generations but to foreign companies and countries, as an entrance fee for access to the national market. Needless to say this idea would go over like a ton of bricks in Alberta.

Which brings us back to what I said at the beginning about capitalism and socialism – they are not polar opposites, but two sides of the same coin. That Alberta, the bastion of economic liberalism in Canada, would flip the coin and a give a majority government to the socialist party of high taxes and even higher spending, the very opposite of fiscal conservatism, is less of a shock than it would have been had the province managed to put fiscally conservative economic patriots into power.

The NDP is about more than socialism, of course. It is also about feminism, abortion-on-demand, anti-white racism, climate change alarmism, the Orwellian thought control that is political correctness, and the triumph of the abnormal over the normal and the average over the exceptional. Albertans will find to their horror that it is these latter things, even more than socialism, that they have in store for them under an NDP government.

The NDP is also, however, the most anti-Canadian of parties, when Canada is rightly understood as being the British country, confederated under the Crown in Parliament in 1867, upon a foundation rooted in Loyalism. The NDP wish to finish what he Pearson-Trudeau Liberals started in the 1960s-1980s, and obliterate our British heritage entirely, abolishing the upper chamber in Parliament, and severing the country’s ties to the monarchy. Had Alberta truly been the most conservative province in the country, the NDP’s contempt for Canada’s British traditions and institutions would have prevented them from ever giving the NDP a single seat. Many Albertans, however, chose to join what ideas they had that were fiscally or socially conservative, to a very unconservative anti-Canadian, anti-patriotism that is not that far removed from that of the NDP, making this election’s outcome much less of a surprise, although no less of a disaster.

(1) Section 33 effectively nullifies all the rights and freedoms listed in section 2, and sections 7 through 15.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Modern Man Reaps the Insanity he has Sown

As Western man entered the Modern Age, he began to regard those things which had been central to his worldview but which cannot be directly perceived by the senses as being less real and therefore less important than those things which are directly available to him through the senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. Whereas previously he had accepted that God, as the Creator and Source of the physical world available to man through his senses, must therefore be more real and more important than that world, modern man reasoned that what is most real and important to us is that which we can observe directly and that God, if He exists at all, is out there somewhere doing His own thing and of little consequence to us. While St. Paul had traced to its inevitable terminus the route which this train of thought must travel in the first chapter of his epistle to the Romans, modern man ignored his warning, jumped aboard that train nonetheless, and has been travelling it ever since.

Modern man has both gained and lost by his decision to travel this path. By concentrating his attention on the physical world he has gained sufficient knowledge of that world to manipulate it to accomplish his ends – and so has managed to prolong his life, to make his labour easier and more efficient thus increasing both his productivity and his leisure time, and to combat scarcity and sickness. These gains are not to be sneered at or lightly dismissed and the fact that they are immediately present to us and observable makes them strong evidence indeed on behalf of the project of modernity.

Now let us think about what we have just noted about the gains of modernity. If such benefits to modern man as prolonged life, better health, abundance of material goods and leisure are evidence on behalf of modernity what is it that they are testifying to on modernity’s behalf? The answer is that they are testifying to modernity’s possessing the quality of being positive, beneficial, or good. Here we encounter a dilemma. If we are required to prove modernity to be good by pointing to the evidence of how it has benefited us this means that goodness is a standard to which modernity is held accountable, which means that goodness is higher than modernity, more important, and therefore more real than modernity and all of its benefits. Yet goodness is not something that we can look upon with our eyes or hear with our ears or otherwise directly detect through our senses. We perceive it indirectly in the many ways it manifests itself in the world of the senses but we approach it directly only through the avenues of faith and reason. In other words the very fact that we find it necessary to prove modernity to be good by pointing to the ways in which it has improved and enriched our lives is a contradiction of this fundamental tenet of modernity that it is the physical world of matter and energy, that we observe through our senses, that is real and important, and that the God Who created that world and such invisible and intangible qualities as goodness itself are less real and less important.

What this tells us is that although we have obtained real, tangible, benefits from modernity, benefits which must not be casually waved aside as if they are nothing, these benefits do not prove the ideas that comprise the foundation of modernity to be true. Truth is another one of those invisible and intangible qualities like goodness, which can be approached through faith and reason, but only perceived indirectly. While modern man talks much about truth, professes a high regard for it, and claims to possess it in greater quantities than men in previous eras, he has altered and reduced its meaning, almost beyond recognition, in accordance with his new understanding of what is real and important. To modern man, “truth” is merely the quality of accurately describing in our speech, what happens in what modern man considers to be the real world, the physical world. While modern man may have more facts at his disposal than ever before, he has lost the larger part of the very meaning of truth itself, and so truth must be marked down on the loss side of the ledger of modernity. In this we see that the losses of modernity, must not be lightly dismissed either. This is a sobering thought when we consider that if we have lost the concept of truth in its fuller sense, we may very well have to count among the losses of modernity the information and standards we need in order to properly weigh the gains against the losses and to determine whether the former are worth the price of the latter.

The end of the modernity project all along has been the subjection of reality to the will of man in a universe where man has usurped the place of God. The elements of the physical world are directly available to man – therefore, since man has declared himself to be the centre of everything, they are the most real and the most important. The elements of the physical world are themselves ranked in importance according to their utility, i.e., how useful they are to man and we now concentrate our intellectual activity in the accumulation of the knowledge and the development of techniques which maximize that usefulness. Man used to find meaning in life, existence, and the world around him by searching and striving for goodness, truth, and beauty, (1) which were what they were in themselves and were regarded as being more real and important than the physical, visible, and tangible elements of reality. Modern man, rather than searching for meaning, projects it upon the world around him, by, for example, creating and choosing values rather than cultivating virtues.

It is illuminating to consider the way in which modern or postmodern man has now moved beyond treating the invisible and intangible as less real and important than the physical and observable and is now treating elements of physical reality in the same way. The obvious example of this is sex.

Sex is very much an observable, physical, element of reality. It is a trait that human beings share with many other living creatures, plant and animal. We come in two kinds, male and female, each with a distinctive physiognomy, each of which produces its own gamete which must unite with that of the other for reproduction to take place. With some animals, male and female come together only for short periods, at certain seasons, to reproduce. With human beings, however, male and female couple with each other for the long term, and all human societies and cultures have ceremonies in which this coupling is formally recognized, establishing unions that come with responsibilities and rights. In part this is because human children are born helpless and dependent, a condition in which they remain for a long period of time, making a long term partnership between their mother and father the optimal way of ensuring that they are raised to maturity. In part it is because we are self-aware individuals and as such we form intellectual and emotional bonds with the other self-aware individuals with whom we mate, thus elevating the sexual union to something that transcends the merely physical.

Sex is such an obvious part of the reality we know that it would seem incredible that anyone could think of it in the way so many modern minds think of beauty, as something that has no meaning or existence, except that which we choose to endow it with ourselves. Yet that is exactly the way some people appear to be thinking of it!

Suppose that someone you know was to come home one evening, announce that he is a chicken, move out into the chicken coop, make himself a nest, and sit there trying to lay an egg. Would you try to get him psychiatric help? Or would you say that if he considers himself to be a chicken that must be what he is, condemn everyone who does not accept his avian self-assessment as being bigoted, and head out to the coop every morning in search of eggs?

I think it is safe to say that most, if not all, of us would consider the first to be the sane and rational option. A man is not a chicken nor by any act of the will, no matter how forceful and inventive, can he make himself into a chicken. Yet today, if a boy announces that he is a girl, or a girl that she is a boy, there are many who would say that the rest of us are under some sort of moral obligation to go along with this. Three years ago, the Ontario legislature passed Bill 33 or “Toby’s Act”, which amended the provincial Human Rights Act to protect people from being discriminated against on the grounds of their “gender identity” or “gender expression”. Protecting people from discrimination on the grounds of “gender identity” or “gender expression” is euphemistic language for telling everybody else that if a man says he is a woman or vice-versa they have to accept this and treat he/she/it accordingly. What this meant in practice was that people who identified as members of the other sex would be allowed to use washrooms designated for the use of that sex. There are plenty of good and valid reasons for having sex specific washrooms, but these were swept away as being of no consequence so that a miniscule fraction of society would have the “right” to make everyone else pretend that men who say they are women and vice-versa are what they say they are, even though they no more are what they say they are than the man who says he is a chicken is what he says he is.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that Ontario’s Bill 33 was merely proof of the extreme flakiness of the Dalton McGuinty Liberals and that this sort of thing couldn’t happen elsewhere. It has been happening all over North America. The problem is far deeper than a dispute about who gets to use what washroom. There are cosmetic surgeons today, who claim to be able to change a person’s sex. If a technique were discovered whereby a beak and feathers could be successfully grafted on to a man this would still not make him a chicken. No more so, does removing a man’s penis and testicles and building an artificial vagina make him into a woman. This “sex reassignment therapy” is made available as a treatment for “gender dysphoria”, which is the medical designation for the condition of being so convinced that you are the sex other than the one you were born into that all the evidence that this is not the case causes you to suffer emotionally. The doctor who proposes as “therapy”, for the man who thinks he is a chicken, a jelly doughnut, or Napoleon Bonaparte, that we change reality to conform to the delusion would be regarded as being crazier than his patient. Yet our governments regard sex reassignment therapy as a legitimate treatment, pay for it with our tax dollars, and register it as having changed the person’s sex in the eyes of the law.

This sort of madness does not come upon a people overnight. This collective denial of the reality of sex took place in a series of stages, in each of which, under the guise of accomplishing a social and political reform, an element of the reality of sex was denied, until finally, cumulatively, the reality of sex was denied in its entirety.

The first stage was feminism. The so-called women’s movement began in the nineteenth century as a response to industrialization. The early feminists believed, not without justification, that the changes wrought by mass factory production and urbanization had undermined the security of women thus creating a need for legal protection in the form of recognized rights to own property, pursue a professional education, and a career. This seemed reasonable enough and so we accepted the justice of these demands. The problem was that feminism demanded something other than justice, it demanded the equality. The cosmetic similarities between the two are such that the deeper differences are often overlooked. Had feminism made the case that women had been harmed by industrialization through a loss of their security and were therefore entitled to compensation in the form of legally recognized rights this would have been a demand for justice. By demanding equality, however, feminism demanded that society accept a fiction, the fiction that there is no substantial difference between male and female, man and woman. Justice requires that people be treated right, be given their due, whereas equality requires that people be treated the same, which is not the same thing at all. As feminism has evolved from the nineteenth century to the twenty-first, it has continued to march under the banner of the equality of the sexes, but the demands of the harpies and harridans who rule the roost in present day academia, unlike those of the early suffragettes, do not bear even a superficial resemblance to justice.

So in feminism, we have the first stage, the denial of substantial difference between male and female. The revolution was the second stage. The sexual revolution, which had been the dream of libertines for centuries, began in the 1950s and 1960s after the theoretical foundation for it was laid by Boasian anthropology, Freudian psychoanalysis, and the “research” of Alfred Kinsey, and has been ongoing ever since. The basic idea behind the revolution was that with new scientific discoveries and inventions, particularly of effective contraceptive technology such as the birth control pill, sexual activity had been divorced from reproduction, and so all traditional rules governing sexual behaviour from cultural mores to religious dogmas to government decrees had been rendered outdated and obsolete. This too, was a denial of part of the reality of sex. By saying that the invention of contraception had separated sex from reproduction invalidating the old rules, the sexual revolution denied that for human beings sex had always been more than mere animal reproduction. In doing so it cheapened both the reproductive and the non-reproductive aspects of sex. By saying that the reproductive aspect of sex was something that could and should be made optional by contraceptive technology the sexual revolution reduced the reproductive aspect of sex from the exalted level of being the means of our survival as families, societies, and a species to being the unwanted consequences of the act of carnal gratification. The sexual revolutionaries debased the word love, which traditionally denoted sexual union and the attraction that leads to it as conceived of as being higher than mere bestial copulation, by stripping it of that which made it higher, its connotations of self-sacrifice and self-denial, and making it mean the virtual opposite, mutual self-gratification. In the end, what emerged from the sexual revolution was a concept of sex in which it was less than animal reproduction and not more, as evidenced by the way the phrase “it is just sex” is now used to casually dismiss any attempt, however slight, at reasserting the old standards.

The third stage was the gay liberation movement. What began decades ago as the fairly reasonable demand that people who are attracted to members of their own sex be allowed to go about their private lives without fear of police raids, violent attacks, and other persecution has evolved into an intolerant, bullying, demand that state and society, at every level, in every way, and in every institution, both accept homosexuality and reject and persecute anyone who does not. Much could be written about this transition from a call to let us be to a refusal to let others be but it is the movement’s denial of a reality about sex that concerns us here. Here is that reality: Human beings are a sexual species, which means that male and female must unite for reproduction to take place, which means that the natural order is for male to be attracted to female, and for female to be attracted to male, and not for male to be attracted to male, or female to female. For whatever reason, some people find themselves attracted to members of their own sex, and while we should treat such people with compassion, kindness and tolerance – provided, of course, that they agree to the quid pro quo of reciprocating these attitudes toward others which the self-appointed spokespeople on their behalf appear to have little interest in doing - it is a plain and simple denial of reality to claim that attraction between members of the same sex is equal to opposite sex attraction in the natural order of things, which claim is what the gay liberation movement is now insisting that everybody accept or be branded a heretic and treated accordingly.

The fourth stage is, of course, the one we began this discussion with, in which a person’s sex, male or female, is no longer something that just is, that one is born with, but what a person decides it to be, and if they decide that their sex is something different from the one they were born with, the rest of us have to accept it, and go out of all of our ways to accommodate their delusion.

We have traced this denial of a reality that is immediately present to us in the physical world available to our senses through the stages of several social and political movements from feminism through the sexual revolution through the gay liberation movement to the present stage. This process, by which we have come to deny a part of reality that is right before our eyes, could not have come about, had modern man not first denied, the greater reality of those higher verities, goodness, truth, beauty and ultimately God Himself, that cannot be looked upon directly, but which nevertheless are there to be seen indirectly, reflected in the world around us. By rejecting the reality which we cannot look upon directly, we have lost our hold on that which we can see all around us, and are now reaping the insanity we have sown.

(1) It will seem strange to many to say that beauty is not visible but it is nevertheless true. You do not directly see beauty as it is in itself, you see beauty in a beautiful person or object, that is to say, indirectly.